After days of bucketing rain in south-east Queensland, snake catchers are bracing for a flurry of calls for assistance as warm, bright weather condition brings optimum conditions for the reptiles — and their victim.
- Professionals state snakes will “all come out at the same time” when the sun comes out once again in Queensland
- There’s been an “influx” of fatal eastern brown hatchlings in Gympie
- Weather, roadworks and property advancement are being called as the factors for increased sightings
Stuart McKenzie from Sunshine Coast Snake Catchers 24/7 stated snakes — like one he saved previously today below a blanket at a child care centre — were active in damp weather condition as they looked for high, dry locations.
“There was quite a rainy evening the night before and that was a nocturnal species, so he would have moved in there during the evening and was just sleeping there,” he stated.
“We were definitely seeing a lot of snakes on the move before the rain and I expect Thursday and Friday … to be very busy with snake activity once the rain goes away.
“A lot of other animals will likewise be on the relocation that snakes like to consume, like your frogs and rodents and little mammals.
Luke Huntley from Snake Catcher Noosa likewise anticipated completion of the week to be “so, so busy”.
“A lot of the snakes that go up into these dry places, they’ll curl up there and wait until the rain goes away,” he stated.
“So when the sun comes out and they can feel the temperature’s going back up, they know it’s time to go back out and do what they’re going to do.
‘Influx’ of eastern brown
Snake eggs usually hatch between February and April.
Gympie Snake Catchers owner Julie Smith said she was seeing a high number of eastern brown hatchlings compared with previous years.
“At the minute we’ve got an increase of [eastern brown] infants,” she said.
“Eastern browns are practically specifically mammal hunters as they get bigger and we’ve had an increase of rodents in the location, so we would anticipate an increase of eastern brown snakes which’s taken place, certainly.
The eastern brown is the world’s 2nd most poisonous snake and hatchlings, even those as little as 20 centimetres, can be deadly to individuals and animals.
“Obviously there’s much less gap between the non-bitey end and the teeth,” Ms Smith stated.
‘Nooks and crannies’
Ms Smith stated the snakes might enter “all sorts of nooks, crannies and places they ought not to be”.
“I actually had one [eastern brown hatchling] caught inside a sliding door this week,” she stated.
“It was an adult, enter into a stack of cleaning that was on the flooring, turned up through the important things that were hanging above the stack of cleaning and sort of fell out at me at about my head height and did it in a couple of seconds.”
Mr McKenzie said hatchlings could be the size of a pen.
“They can quickly squeeze into that smaller sized space, so they can compress their body a little also … I’ve heard possibly half the size of their body,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of carpet pythons that go into bird cages and enclosures where they’ve pressed through wire, which when you take a look at the size of the snake, you’re like, ‘There’s no other way’.
Catches up, however no ‘pester’
Despite a boost in interaction with human beings, Mr McKenzie stated he did not think there were physically more snakes or a “plague”.
“I believe it’s because there’s more houses being built, less bush for snakes,” he stated.
“So, there’s more human interactions because of the amount of buildings going up and the amount of land that has been knocked over.”
He stated snakes were ending up being familiar with living their entire life process around houses.
Ms Smith stated the scenario was comparable in her neck of the woods.
“There are a number of big developments and road clearances going through Gympie, so we have a lot of activity around those areas where they’re being displaced,” she stated.